The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card can bring you closer to the Companion Pass and offer some nice extra perks – but is it a good addition to your wallet?
The Southwest card earns 2 points per dollar on Southwest purchases, local transit, commuting (including rideshare), internet, cable, phone services and select streaming. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. The card also offers a few perks that can make it appealing to travelers.
Is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card the right option for you, or should you look into other Southwest cards – or other travel cards altogether?
Read on to learn when the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is (or isn’t) worth it and whether you should consider adding it to your wallet.
When is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus worth it?
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus isn’t the most lucrative travel card, but in some situations, it can offer excellent value.
When you’re an occasional traveler
You can’t say you travel frequently, but when you do, you fly with Southwest.
If that describes you, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus may be a good option for you. You won’t have to worry about justifying a high annual fee, and the card will help you earn rewards on travel and beyond.
Besides that, the card offers a few useful perks for travelers, including:
- Two EarlyBird check-ins every card anniversary
- 25% back on in-flight purchases
- Baggage delay insurance
- Lost luggage insurance
Additionally, for your loyalty, the issuer will reward you with 3,000 bonus points on each account anniversary.
When you’re interested in the Companion Pass
The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the most desirable perks in the world of travel rewards. It allows you to designate a companion to bring with you free of charge (except for taxes and fees) on any Southwest flight that you purchase for the remainder of the year and the following year.
If you regularly travel with a companion, be it your partner, friend or family member, you can easily save hundreds or even thousands of dollars with the pass, depending on how often you travel.
Unfortunately, the requirements to earn the Companion Pass are rather steep. It will cost you either 100 qualifying one-way flights or 125,000 points.
This is where a Southwest credit card can help. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus currently offers a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months your account is open.
This promotion will help you work toward earning the Companion Pass.
When is the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus not worth it?
Despite the low annual fee and a few valuable benefits for Southwest flyers, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus isn’t an ideal choice for everyone.
Here are some situations where you might want to look into different cards.
When you’re a frequent traveler
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus is a cost-effective option, but it doesn’t mean it provides the best value.
If you travel often and fly with Southwest, a higher-priced Southwest card will most likely be a better choice.
For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card costs $149 per year but offers a higher rewards rate on Southwest purchases (3 points per dollar) and improved perks, including:
- Four Upgraded Boardings per year (when available)
- $75 annual travel credit to use toward Southwest purchases
- 7,500 bonus points each account anniversary
- 25% back on in-flight purchases
- 1,500-tier qualifying points towards A-List status for every $10,000 spent
- No foreign transaction fees
With the travel credit and anniversary bonus alone, you can more than make up for the card’s annual fee, all while getting better benefits.
When you want luxury perks
Premium perks aren’t what the Southwest cards are known for.
If you travel regularly and want a credit card that will open airport lounges for you, provide elite statuses and shorten the time you spend in security lines, we recommend looking into premium travel credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve card and The Platinum Card® from American Express.
These cards, of course, come with a premium price tag, with the Capital One Venture X Credit Card being the most affordable option at $395 per year. However, the statement credits and benefits the best cards of this class offer easily help recoup their costs.
When you’re a deal hunter
On the other hand, if your key factor in booking airfare is the price, you want to be able to compare costs without being locked in with one airline.
In this scenario, paying a fee for an airline credit card isn’t worth it, even when it’s as low as $69. You’ll be better off with a general travel credit card, as it will allow you not only to earn and redeem rewards for airfare from different airlines but also to transfer your rewards to the issuer’s travel partners to potentially stretch your value even further.
For example, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, an excellent mid-tier travel card with a $95 annual fee. You’ll earn valuable rewards, such as 5 points per dollar on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 2 points per dollar on all other travel purchases. On top of that, you’ll receive an annual $50 Ultimate Rewards hotel credit and a 10% anniversary points boost.
Additionally, you’ll get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase’s portal. Plus, you can choose to transfer your points to the issuer’s partners to bump your rewards value – and Chase has a superb partners selection.
With this kind of credit card, you have more opportunities to save on travel, including shopping around for the best prices, maximizing your rewards and using valuable benefits.
Should you get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card?
If you prefer to fly with Southwest and fly regularly – but not frequently enough to justify higher annual fees – the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus may be worth considering. It’s also a good option if you want a low-cost way to get closer to the Companion Pass.
On the other hand, if you’re a jet-setter, a higher-priced Southwest might make more sense. You might even prefer a general travel card if you don’t want to get locked into one loyalty program or would prefer better card perks.
Note that the Southwest cards are issued by Chase and are subject to the issuer’s “5/24 rule.” This means you’re not likely to be approved for a Chase card if you’ve opened five or more credit cards from any issuer in the last 24 months.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card doesn’t offer much in terms of rewards flexibility or travel perks, but it can provide unique value to some Southwest flyers at a low cost.
If you’re considering getting a Southwest card, analyze your travel habits and think about what perks you desire the most.
Check CardMatch to see which cards you’re most likely to qualify for based on your credit profile and compare all the available options. Browsing CardMatch won’t impact your score, and you’ll only see cards you have a good chance of getting approved for.